#MeToo


Dearest Readers:

In the news, we continue hearing about the #MeToo epidemic. Many actresses and celebrities are finally coming forward about sexual molestation…sexual harassment…rape…and so on. Many are asking why it has taken them so long to come forward. My response – “You’ve never been a victim. Have you?”

If you read the last post I shared, you will know I was a victim too. No. Not from rape. I fought back hard and was able to fight my great-uncle off. While I’m certain other women fought, some were so horrified they could not fight back.

As a woman in a professional hospitality industry, I would like to share another incident I experienced. At the time, I worked in hospitality. On one occasion, I left my office to speak with someone on the floor below my office. I wore a black and white dress. White belt. Bolero jacket and high heels. Because I always wore heels, everyone who knew me, knew the click, click, clicking of my heels. I passed by the elevator. One of the instructors stopped me, telling me how “gorgeous you look today. Really inviting…” Then, he licked his lips and mumbled “Hmm…Hmm! You look edible today.”

At first, I ignored his comments, continuing to walk to my destination. Moments later, since no one was around and I did not have witnesses, I approached him.

He smiled a derogative smile. “You came back,” he said.

“Yes. I came back. Not to encourage you or express interest in what you were saying to me. I. Came. Back, to tell you from this moment on, you will address me with respect. The way you were looking at me, you were undressing me. I will not tolerate that behavior.”

He attempted to interrupt me, but I put my hand up to let him know I wasn’t finished. “From this day forward, you will not speak to me, or with me. You will look the other way, or you will turn away from me. How dare you to lick your lips and make such rude, suggestive comments to me.”

He moved closer. I pushed him back. “And, Mr. _____, IF you ever get the urge to lick your lips around me again, no doubt suggesting unbecoming ideas, I will press charges against you. What you did was disgusting and I will not tolerate it again. If needed, I will go to H-R to file a sexual harassment complaint.”

He gasped.

“Do I make myself clear?”
“Yes.” He said.

This instructor never spoke to me again. A few months later a student filed a complaint against him and he was escorted off of the property. The student left the campus, never to return.

I do not know exactly what happened to the student, but I was thankful the instructor would not be nearby again.

Yes. I should’ve filed a complaint, but at the time, my husband was unemployed and I needed the job. Since sexual harassment is such an open topic now, thanks to #MeToo, and the abundance of women coming forward, I am a bit disappointed in myself for not reporting it. I understand why women are hesitant, just like me.

Sexual harassment is not a new occurrence now. Sexual harassment has been happening for many, many years. It takes a lot of courage to come forward and report it. While I haven’t stated where I worked at the time, or who the party was who sexually harassed me, I am coming forward to let others know it does happen. Women are made to feel as if we are the ones who caused this ‘epidemic’ to happen. I say, No. On the day it happened to me, I was left feeling scared and abused. I am proud of myself for approaching this disgusting man and letting him know his comments and actions made me uncomfortable. Obviously, he continued to make those off-colored comments to other women.

Some men never learn!

If you are reading this, and it happens to you, please stand up and speak out. Weeks after my incident I did ask our H-R professional what would happen IF someone filed a complaint against another colleague regarding sexual harassment. I was told, “It’s usually a question of He said…She said…IF there were no witnesses around.”

I wasn’t surprised. Today, I am thankful women are speaking up. It is time for us to stop being victims. Hopefully, #MeToo will give us the courage to share these disgusting incidents.

Let us all stand tall #MeToo!

 

Wishing Much Success to Our 45th President — Donald J. Trump


Dearest Readers:

This will be a brief post. Today, like many Americans, I watched Donald J. Trump become the 45th President for the United States of America.

IF ONLY WE WERE UNITED!

Watching him and his classic, elegant (not to mention gorgeous) wife, dressed in baby blue, he and Melania make an elegant couple. I was so proud to watch this historical moment.

Later, I heard about the protesters. I am hopeful they meant the protest to be peaceful, but it wasn’t. Many of the angry rioters were dressed in black with hoodies. Their faces covered in black scarves or bandanas. They thrust their weight, and anything they could find into store windows. Bellowing out something about “Donald Trump has got to go…”

Is this the United States of America? Reportedly, at least 200 protesters were arrested. Many more should be in jail – they were destroying limousines, businesses, absolutely anything in their way. A few police officers were injured. And this is America???

Hardly. We are divided. I suppose we can thank the division to those who refused to give Donald Trump a chance. Alas, what about the 70 Democratic lawmakers who boycotted the inaugural address? Believe me, I would never vote for any of them ever again. Our lawmakers have the opportunities most of us in America are not privileged to have — being a part of the Presidential Inauguration. They should take a step forward to show us an example of what it is like to live in a country where we are free to elect our President. Instead, they make a negative statement. Perhaps they added friction to the rioters.

Speaking as a writer and a proud American, I am willing to give President Donald J. Trump a chance — just like I did when Barack Obama stepped in to those presidential shoes. We need to give our President a chance, and we need to stop having all of the riots. Sorry, when a protest turns to violence, I consider them riots.

To President Donald J. Trump, I say “Welcome, Mr. President. May you guide our country into the UNITED States of America.” We need to unite….not fight!

I have high hopes for you, and America. Let’s MAKE AMERICA GREAT!

 

 

HURRY UP AND WAIT… PLAYING THE WAITING GAME AT THE VA HOSPITAL


Dearest Readers:

Listed below is a story based on true experiences shared at the VA Hospital in Charleston, SC – March 2011. I am happy to report, these scenarios have not been experienced by my husband since that time. Now, with so many investigations ongoing regarding the Veterans Administration, I thought it appropriate to share this story again. Thankfully, after this happened, I received numerous phone calls from Ralph H. Johnson VA Hospital, apologizing. Apparently, our experience helped to open the eyes of the administration and this type of behavior is no longer tolerated. The last time I accommodated my husband at the hospital, I discovered friendly, professional and caring nurses, doctors and staff. Truly a pleasant experience. Isn’t it sad that sometimes we do tolerate this type of behavior — however, for me, when I see this behavior related to a Veteran, I choose to slip on my Julia Sugarbaker shoes and go at them — diplomatically. Let’s just say, sometimes, the power of words and body language gets the job done. I am so happy that Ralph H. Johnson VA Hospital no longer tolerates non-professional employees. Our Veterans deserve the best…after all…they went to battle for the United States of America. Thank you Veterans…for your service…and welcome Home!

On March 30, 2011, my husband awoke to severe pain in the neck. Knowing he is a heart patient who suffered a TIA in December 2008, Phil phoned his primary care doctor at Ralph H. Johnson VA Hospital. For those who are not aware, a transient ischemic attack (TIA) is a mini-stroke. A TIA is considered a warning sign that a true stroke may be about to happen. Time is crucial to receive medical care. Phil phoned the TAPS line to make an appointment to see his primary care doctor. When the nurse at the VA hospital returned his call, he listened to the symptoms, telling my husband he would receive a return call from the doctor within twenty-four hours. “Twenty-four hours,” I replied. “If you are having a TIA there may not be 24 hours We’re going to E-R!”

Arriving at E-R of the VA Hospital, I noticed a sign, “No cell phones permitted in this area.” I turned my cell phone off. We entered the emergency area, standing in line awaiting a simple nod from someone acknowledging our presence. We watched the employee answer the telephone, hang it up, answer another telephone, while placing it on the desk to answer her personal cell phone. Upon answering her personal cell, she motioned that she wasn’t assisting with patients and walked away. We crossed over to the other line, now filled with two people who arrived after we did. Finally we were serviced and my husband told them he was a heart patient and had a TIA in 2008. His neck was causing excruciating pain and he wanted to make certain he wasn’t having a stroke. Almost immediately, my husband’s vitals were checked. Within 30 minutes he was moved back to the E-R area, examination room 10.

For two-and-a- half hours we sat in the room. No one came to check on his condition. In the corridor my husband listened to the nurses and assistants chattering away about their lives, partying, marriage, while answering their cell phones and surfing on the Internet. My husband is a Vietnam Veteran with PTSD so patience isn’t something he tolerates well. After waiting for such a long time, I approached these people, greeting them diplomatically. “Could you please give me an estimate of how much longer it will be before my husband sees a doctor?”

Hannah, the young, attractive blonde dressed in orange scrubs glanced up from her laptop screen. “We have a lot of patients. Many are sicker than your husband, so we don’t know how long it will be.”

“You do realize my husband could be having another TIA. I am certain when the doctor arrives he will recommend an X-ray, and then we’ll have to continue the wait. Strokes demand a quick response.”

The nurse shrugged her shoulders. “We looked at his records, but I don’t know how much longer it will be.”

“Why is it always such a long waiting game every time we come here?” I asked. “My husband could be having a stroke.”

Recognizing I was getting nowhere, I turned back to my husband’s examination room. The nurse replied, “You can always go somewhere else…”

I spun on my heel, approached the blonde again and replied… “That is the wrong thing to say to someone, especially a Veteran. When the USA needed them, they did not say they could go somewhere else to avoid war…How dare you say that to a veteran. Perhaps you should go somewhere else to work…”

Arriving back at my husband’s room, I was so angry I was shaking. Within two minutes a doctor entered the room, introducing himself as Dr. Edward O’Bryan.” He examined my husband, testing his balance, doing all the necessary tests to determine he was not having a stroke. The diagnosis was neck strain. A shot was given, prescriptions written and a request for an X-ray was completed. While speaking with the doctor, I demanded to know the blonde nurse’s name. “Hannah,” was the reply. Dr. O’Bryan was 100% professional with a great bedside manner. I explained my concerns to him, along with the words expressed by the nurse. He apologized. I let him know I was taking notes, would write a letter to my Congressional Representative, and would write additional stories about this experience. He nodded. Later, I spoke with a nursing supervisor who reassured me that the nurse in question had been reprimanded.

Isn’t it a shame that sometimes it takes a bit of assertiveness to get the necessary care at a VA Hospital. When our veterans went to war the expression, “Hurry up and wait,” became a cliché. In 2011, it is not just a cliché, but appears to be a standard operating procedure at VA Hospitals. It is a pity that veterans are treated in such a way. Whatever happened to the promises made? Our veterans fight wars to protect our freedom. I find it inconceivable that when they need a little TLC and examinations they are told to “Go somewhere else.” Our Veterans deserve better treatment and medical care. They made our country proud, not a disgrace!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Barbie Perkins-Cooper is a freelance writer who loves the journey and exploration of hospitality, travel, and health. She works full-time as an editorial photojournalist and has published numerous articles and photographs for regional, health and beauty and travel publications, including the Travel Channel, Buick B Magazine, and many more. Barbie resides in Charleston, South Carolina with her husband, Phil and several precious pups. She is the author of Condition of Limbo and Career Diary of a Photographer. e-mail barbiepc@bellsouth.net.